Prosthetist and orthotist

Prosthetists and orthotists are responsible for supplying prostheses and orthoses for patients. A prosthesis is a device that replaces a missing limb. An orthosis is a device that is externally applied to the body to control joint motions, providing support or pressure redistribution.

The work of prosthetists and orthotists

Prosthetists design and fit prostheses for patients who have lost or were born without a limb. They design a replacement limb by taking a plaster cast of the residual limb on to which it is to fit.

Orthotists provide orthoses (braces or splints) and special footwear to help patients with movement difficulties and to relieve discomfort.

Orthotists assess the patient’s problem and decide upon an appropriate prescription. They then design the orthosis, supervise its manufacture, fitting and adjustment, and teach the patient and carers how to use it.

Skills required

Your training as a prothetist/ orthotist will give you a high level of knowledge in anatomy, physiology, and pathologies. You will also develop technical skills in particular in biomechanics, movement analysis and problem solving skills.

You must also be able to deal with clients with patience and tact, providing clear explanations and advice as well as reassurance and encouragement.

Training programmes

BSc (Hons) Prosthetics and Orthotics at the University of Salford

University of Salford undergraduate full-time four year programme.

Acceptance on the course is also subject to satisfactory health and criminal record clearance.

BSc (Hons) Prosthetics and Orthotics at the University of Strathclyde

University of Strathclyde undergraduate full-time four year programme.

No offers will be made until candidates have been interviewed. A criminal records check through Disclosure Scotland will also be carried out.

You should contact the universities directly for the latest information on entry requirements and applications should be made through Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

Career pathway

Most prosthetic and orthotic graduates begin their careers working for commercial companies who work for the Health and Social Care sector. However, there are also opportunities to work directly for the health service.

As you become more experienced, you may specialise in a particular area of clinical work or move into management, teaching or research.

Professional recognition

On completion of the course you must apply for State Registration with the professional regulator, the Health and Care Professions Council. You may also join the professional body – the British Association of Prosthetists and Orthotists.

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